Rainbows and Roses

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Ron, gets to celebrate Valentine's Day for the first time in a relationship, but his boyfriend might not like the idea - or will he?
This story was contributed by Dolly Grand.

I always wanted to spend a special Valentine's Day with that special someone. Growing up, I thought that it wasn't a choice for a closeted gay like me. Every year I watched as my friends took their girlfriends out on nice, romance-filled dates, while I stayed home alone. Some guys said they didn't care about it, but still bought chocolate for their girls.

Every year, I tried to pretend that it didn't matter to me, that it was just a holiday invented by companies who wanted to make cold hard cash at the expense of these love-fools. I was being smart and didn't fall for that. No sir...

But then the next Valentine's Day came around, and again, I found myself watching my friends pamper their loved ones with chocolates, flowers and hotel nights, feeling that familiar emptiness in my soul when walking past all those roses and heart-shaped decorations.

Not this year, though. This year I walked past the rows of chocolate, not even noticing how my pace grew slower as I studied the cute little boxes with ribbons and hearts all over them and didn't feel that emptiness inside me. I turned to look for the guy in a red hoodie – in my hoodie – and spotted him a few aisles ahead, waiting for me.

I gave the chocolates one more look, before hurrying my steps to my special someone.

"You like Valentine's Day?" Derek asked with a raised eyebrow when I stopped next to him.

"I've never celebrated it before," I shrugged, hoping my answer was good enough for him.

"Hmmh..."

The only problem this year was that Derek wasn't the kind of guy who enjoyed things like Valentine's Day. Or romance in general. He was a great guy and I loved him to bits, but love confessions made him uncomfortable, so I often held my tongue. I understood him and his reasons – he had a rough childhood because of his sexuality, and he was still slowly learning how to love and be loved.

He wasn't even open about his sexuality yet, only a few of his friends knew about it besides me. We didn't hold hands in public or be openly affectionate towards each other, but I didn't mind since he had his own ways of showing his affection. Like stealing my hoodies. He would often go find one of mine even when his own was right there within his reach. He was a man of few words, but his actions spoke louder, and I knew he loved me.

That meant a hell of a lot more to me than Valentine's Day. Although there probably was no harm in buying him a box of chocolate. He loved chocolate, after all.

The next day I stopped by a grocery store after work and went to do just that. I spent some time selecting something I knew he would definitely like before heading to the checkout, but when I walked past a table full of roses, my pace slowed down to a halt. I tried to decide whether or not to buy one – or a dozen – but Valentine's Day was tomorrow, and I had nowhere to hide them in our apartment. Chocolate was easy since I could just leave the box in the car, but the flowers would probably die in there.

I decided to get the flowers anyway. A dozen big red roses. Just being able to buy them felt so good... I wasn't letting myself get overly excited over Valentine's since the chances were that Derek would get uncomfortable, but he wasn't going to get mad at me either, so I let myself get a little excited.

Derek wasn't home when I got there, so I quickly hid the flowers in our guestroom, behind the long curtains so they'd get enough light. We usually didn't go there so that was the best place to hide them.

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